Cubs-Marlins Preview

The Associated Press

The Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins are the only teams that haven't won back-to-back games.

After the Marlins faltered in their attempt to end that drought in the series opener, the Cubs will get their turn Friday night in Miami.

Chicago (7-14) hasn't won consecutive games since Sept. 12-14, but gave itself another chance at stringing two victories together by edging Miami 4-3 Thursday. Luis Valbuena hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning, his third in six games and fourth this season.

Valbuena had four homers in his 90 games with the Cubs last season.

"It was a good win for us, a good comeback," outfielder Nate Schierholtz said. "Valbuena had a big home run in the ninth and our starting pitching has been great. They've been keeping us close in games. We just need to score them a few runs like we did tonight and we'll come out on top."

Despite producing just six hits, the Cubs matched their highest run total on their 10-game road trip in part by going 2 for 6 with runners in scoring position. They're hitting a major league-worst .148 in those situations, and .216 overall with 19 runs while going 2-5 on their trip.

Chicago will try for a fourth straight win over the Marlins (5-17), who have matched their worst start in franchise history. The Cubs will also try to help Scott Feldman (0-3, 4.50 ERA) earn his first victory since Aug. 4, when he was with Texas.

Feldman, a loser in eight straight decisions, has given up 10 combined runs in his past two starts but only three have been earned as the Cubs have committed four errors. The right-hander, though, has made two of those miscues and his throwing error with two outs in the fifth inning Sunday in Milwaukee opened the door for Ryan Braun's three-run homer in a 4-2 defeat.

"We have to keep grinding," Feldman told the team's website. "I think things are going to turn around for us. That one play did turn out to be costly, but I have to take it upon myself to make a better pitch to Braun and we wouldn't be talking about the error."

Feldman will throw opposite another winless pitcher, Wade LeBlanc (0-3, 6.27).

LeBlanc has received four total runs of support in his four starts, but hasn't helped himself by failing to make it past the fourth inning in his last two outings. The left-hander needed 85 pitches to get through four frames in last Saturday's 3-2 loss in 13 innings to Cincinnati.

"It was terrible," LeBlanc told the team's website. "About the only silver lining was I was able to keep us close enough to come back and tie the game."

While Feldman will face the Marlins for the first time, LeBlanc will seek to earn his second win in as many starts against the Cubs. While with San Diego, he allowed two runs over seven innings in a 9-2 victory in 2011.

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